Best ultra wide-angle lens for Nikon DSLRs: 8 tested

Ultra wide lenses to help you see the big picture

Best ultra wide-angle lens for nikon dslrs: 8 tested

Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 EX DC HSM - £500/ $650

Unlike Sigma's original 10-20mm zoom, this has a constant aperture of f/3.5, so the top aperture is f/3.5 across the zoom range. This makes it a little more than one stop 'faster' than the f/4-5.6 lens at 20mm, for faster low-light shutter speeds.

The f/3.5 is also 50g heavier, and has a larger front element to let in more light. Most lenses here have a 77mm filter thread, but this Sigma needs larger, pricier 82mm filters.

Performance

Like the other Sigma lenses on test, this one features fast, quiet and accurate ring-type ultrasonic autofocus, complete with full-time manual override. And, as is the case with all but the Samyang and Tamron lenses on test here, the focus distance scale is neatly tucked away beneath a viewing window. All in all, the Sigma feels well engineered to use, with good handling. We found that distortions were particularly well controlled. In our tests, though, sharpness wasn't quite as good as it was with the older Sigma 10-20mm lens, which is also cheaper.

Sharpness

Best ultra wide-angle lens for nikon dslrs: 8 tested

In the wider half of the zoom range, sharpness is only good from f/8 to f/11. It's disappointing at large or small apertures.

Lab test at f/8
Sharpness at 10mm: 1919
Sharpness at 14mm: 1728
Sharpness at 20mm: 1951

Fringing

Best ultra wide-angle lens for nikon dslrs: 8 tested

Chromatic aberration is most noticeable at each end of the zoom range, but is fairly well controlled between 14 and 18mm.

Lab test at f/8
Fringing at 10mm: 0.34
Fringing at 14mm: 0.3
Fringing at 20mm: 0.22

Distortion

Best ultra wide-angle lens for nikon dslrs: 8 tested

Barrel and pin-cushion distortions are only visible at the shortest and longest extremes of the zoom range respectively.

Lab test at f/8
Distortion at 10mm: -2.52
Distortion at 14mm: -0.27
Distortion at 20mm: 0.85

Image test verdict

Best ultra wide-angle lens for nikon dslrs: 8 tested

See full res image

Sharpness could be better at large and small apertures, especially at ultra-wide focal lengths, but overall image quality is respectable.

Read the full Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 EX DC HSM review